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Our theme for September is Best Church Websites Month. We have more exciting news on that coming soon, but for now I’m going to kick off a new blog series we’re doing.
Are you familiar with the 20-80 rule?
The 20-80 rule is the principle that in many aspects of life roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In most churches, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. For many businesses, 20% of the clients produce 80% of the sales.
Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of churches with their websites. From that experience, we’ve discovered about 80% of the problems with church websites come down to just 10 common issues.
If we could educate, motivate and assist churches on these 10 issues, we could eliminate 80% of website problems. So, that’s what we’re going to do.
The Best Church Websites… 1) Have a Good Domain Name
The first issue we’re going to look at is domain names, because having no domain name or a bad domain name can prevent people from ever getting to your website.
6 Tips for Selecting a Good Domain Name
1) Get your own domain name! Some churches go the cheap route and get a free site that doesn’t have its own domain name. Unless you’re in a 3rd world country and are living off a dollar a day, this is a REALLY bad idea. Free sites have a long web address that is hard for people to remember, often misspelled and terrible for search rankings. If you genuinely want to reach people in your community, your website needs its own domain name.
2) Keep it short. Long domain names are also hard to remember and easy to mistype. If your church has a long name, don’t spell out the entire thing in your domain name like firstmissionarybaptistchurchtuscaloosa.org. It’d be better to go with FMBCTuscaloosa.org
3) Lean towards .org and .com. There are hundreds of top level domains (TLDs) now, but most people think of .com for companies and .org for nonprofits. If you can get your preferred domain name with the .org or .com TLD, do it. Often though those domains are long gone, so if you have to choose between a really long or poor .com and a good, short .net, .us or something else choose the latter.
4) Don’t use dashes. Don’t choose a domain name with a dash in it like first-baptist-church.org. People have a difficult time remembering the dashes, and its difficult to verbally communicate the dashes.
5) Keywords help search rankings a little. If you can include a keyword in your domain name, do it. For example, our domain name OurChurch.Com helps us rank better for phrases with church in them. It’s not as big a ranking factor as it used to be but every little bit helps.
6) Be careful of the unintended. Family of Christ is a Christian School in Tampa whose mascot is the Knights. The domain name FOCKnights.com would have been a bad choice. Before you make your final decision, have a few other people take a look at it.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good domain name. To quote Tony Messer…
A domain name is online real estate. It’s where your brand lives. -Tony Messer
OurChurch.Com makes it easy to get a great domain name. When ordering your church web hosting, just check the box to “register a new domain” and we take care of the rest.
Comment & Discuss
- Do you think its essential for a church website to have its own domain name? Why or why not?
- Do you have any other advice for selecting a good domain name?